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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/27/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hailed as 'Komodo Dragon of Wasps,' insect has jaws bigger than its legs

Wasps usually send out warning signs to humans to run away or get out of the wasp's orbit straightaway. However - a new species of wasp discovered in Indonesia will inspire people to turn tail and run. Horrifically huge, the newly discovered wasp is over two inches long and has jaws longer than its legs.

No, it's not some horrifying monster from a sci-fi film -- it's a gigantic two-inch wasp recently discovered in Indonesia.

No, it's not some horrifying monster from a sci-fi film -- it's a gigantic two-inch wasp recently discovered in Indonesia.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/27/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Wasps, Indonesia, extinction, size, mating rituals


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As discovered by University of California-Davis entomologist Lynn Kimsey, the new insect has been heralded as the "Komodo Dragon of wasps."

Kimsey found the wasp last year but it was recently confirmed as a new species. Named Gardua, the word means "king of birds" in Indonesian.

According to National Geographic, Megalara garuda is two inches long and its "sickle-shaped" jaws are larger than its own legs. The male species has spikes on its jaws, presumably for defense and reproduction. "I don't know how it can walk," Kimsey told journalists.

"Its jaws are so large that they wrap up either side of the head when closed. When the jaws are open they are actually longer than the male's front legs.

"In another species in the genus the males hang out in the nest entrance," Kimsey adds. "This serves to protect the nest from parasites and nest robbing, and for this he exacts payment from the female by mating with her every time she returns to the nest. So it's a way of guaranteeing paternity. Additionally, the jaws are big enough to wrap around the female's thorax and hold her during mating."

If you plant o visit Indonesia, however, you may not have to worry about one of these creatures buzzing by you. Kimsey said that so far all the specimens they have found have been dead.

Replacing their forest habitat with crop farming may be a potential factor in the death of these wasps, Kimsey says. She says it makes her "sick to my stomach" to think of this newly discovered species' population declining due to human activity.

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